Pop: The Verve Urban Hymns (Hut/All Formats)

Unfortunately, the history of The Verve is a no-frills tale of mental and physical burn-out from over work and rock'n'roll binges. At last these style gurus can recover from one played-out ending and are turning the experience to an advantage with this new album. They create some great string showmanship with an inkling of madness in "Bitter Sweet Symphony", and the chart-topping "The Drugs Don't Work" is rumoured to have been originally about them with "the drugs don't work, they just make me worse," changed to "you". Square sunglasses, unkept hair, good looks and high cheek bones also help.

The Verve are a risk-taking guitar band. They dabble in psychedelia, slowed down vocals and lyrics which could be poetry - with brave takes on philosopher-troubling subjects like "We have existence and it's all we share," ("Space and Time"), and "There's a million different people inside my head" ("Bitter Sweet Symphony").

They are to being instrovert what Oasis are to being extrovert. And while you join millions with Oasis, The Verve are so personal and heart-rending that you'll often wish to be alone when listening and want to be alone in liking.

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